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Private School Invite Recap
By: Kevin Milsted

For some, it was the first indoor meet of the winter, and for many more it would be the last meet before outdoor track begins. Most DC and Maryland Private Schools spend the indoor season practicing outdoors and competing on short, tight, often slick indoor tracks. Only the MIAA and IAAM actually have an official indoor championship. Few schools spend the big bucks to go to the large east coast invitationals, but the Georgetown Prep Private School Invitational gives these schools a great opportunity to compete on a fast one-year-old track against schools that are in the same boat. As a result, fans of private school track and field got a good glimpse at who to watch out for when things get competitive this spring.

The Elizabeth Seton girls won by a landslide over Bishop McNamara and Seton Keough, who were separated by only one point.

Seton had a different winner in every running event 1000 meters or shorter. Jameice DeCoster took a large lead in the 300 and never looked back, winning in 41.83. Placing 2nd was Seton teammate Dionna Hays, who also won the 55m in 7.21. Both Hays and Pedro of Seton ran faster than DeCoster's meet record of 7.29 from a year ago. Seton also dominated the 4x200m relay winning in 1:46.59.

Although the Bishop McNamara girls didn't rack up quite as many wins as Seton, they had plenty of top 3 finishes all day. Saniel Atkinson cleared 5-6 in the high jump and their 4x800m relay took first place in 10:20 early in the day. They solidified their 2nd place finish by running away with the 4x400m relay. Their time of 4:07.50, after some confusion on the starting line, was 12 seconds faster than 2nd place Good Counsel.

It's no surprise that Seton Keough was one of the top 3 teams. Erin Brooks had another tremendous day in the triple jump with a best jump of 40-feet and 3-inches. Brooks also place 2nd in the long jump and 3rd in the 55m dash. Seton Keough teammate Chelsea Tavik backed her up in the field with a winning throw in the shot put of 36-feet and 1-inch.

McDonogh's Kristen Brown had one of the top performances of the day. Already the state leader, she notched her fastest time of the season with the win in the 55m hurdles in 8.18.

Senior Erika Stasakova of John Carroll and freshman Chinny Asher of Holy Cross highlighted the distance events with their battles in both the 1600 and 3200. In the 1600, Asher pulled away from the field relatively early and won in 5:15. A late surge by Stasakova put her within 3 seconds of the leader at 5:18.

Later on in the 3200, Asher and Stasakova pulled away from the rest of the field very early on, but neither was able to break the other until late. Midway through the race, it became apparent that the two girls were chasing down the 11 minute barrier. After letting Asher lead for about 14 laps, Stasakova took the lead and started to build upon it. Tired from the earlier victory, Asher didn't have the next gear that Stasakova had. Stasakova just missed the 11 minute barrier, clocking 11:00.85. Asher was second in 11:05.11.

The team battle was constantly changing in a much more closely contested boys' competition. Ultimately it was the Mount St. Joseph's boys who proved to be the strongest in February. A win in the long jump and triple jump by Dorian Johnson and a win in the pole vault from Andy Darmody gave them the edge over Dematha, Good Counsel, and Gilman.

Dematha seemingly had someone competing to win every running event, and in some cases put 2 athletes in the top 5. Aaron Brooks won the shot put in 50-feet and 2-inches.

Caleb Porzel of Good Counsel led his team to 3rd place overall. Porzel comfortably won the 55m dash in 6.46 and later anchored his 4x200m relay to 2nd place.

George Chambers of Archbishop Curly ran an impressive 300m to win in 35.47, taking down Sean Suber's meet record from last year.

A strong 1600 field was won with a strategic race from St. Alban's birthday boy Brian Rooney in 4:37.63. Rooney did not seem to be in contention to win the race until the final 100m.

Georgetown Prep's Ramsey Chapin took a break from middle distance running to try out a fresh 3200. Dematha's Corey Puffett took the race out far in front of anyone else. He came through the first 800 in 2:22 before settling in. Chapin reeled him in for the remainder of the race. Chapin passed Puffett, but Puffett did not fade away despite a fast start. Chapin took the win in 9:48 with Puffett in 2nd in 9:53.

The most exciting moment of the entire meet was the final section of the boys 4x400m relay. Good Counsel, who may or may not have been in contention for the win, took a big spill on the first leg and were knocked too far back to challenge for the win (they would finish 5th). After two legs, Archbishop Carroll and Gilman were flying out in front. Although there is no historic rivalry between these teams, fans were all riled up to see an exciting finish in the last race of the day. Wooops were heard all over the complex as the anchors rounded the final curve side by side. The two runners dove across the finish line. The Carroll runner was able to stay on his feet, but the Gilman runner was not so coordinated. It paid off for Gilman who took the win in 3:30.13 over Carroll in 3:30.16. This solidified Gilman's 4th place team finish.

While most public schools are gearing up for regionals or states, most of their private schools made their final indoor hoorah at Georgetown Prep today. Some athletes ran state-best times, which just goes to show that they are every bit as good as the public schools if they can just get on a nice track every once in a while! Now, we know which athletes and teams to look out for as outdoor season draws nearer and nearer.


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